By SHELLY HECKERT
Director, KC Recycling Depot
Americans create a lot of trash each day (4.6 pounds to be exact). This Earth Day, April 22, the KC Recycling Depot challenges you and anyone else you can inspire to a Waste Free Day.
For one day, can you put “Nothing in the Can?” To sign up and learn more visit our website. Download our Trash Tracker and email the finished tracker to [email protected] or drop it off at the Depot, 220 S. Union St, Warsaw. All will be entered into a drawing for four Black Pine Animal Sanctuary tickets, a great zero waste activity.
Others have been successful with Zero Waste goals. A family in California, tracked their trash and in six months they have created, literally, a handful of waste and Lauren Singer, a young woman from NYC has an entire year’s worth of her trash in a mason jar. Being the director of the KC Recycling Depot, I live what I believe is an environmental lifestyle, however my family of five creates one garbage can full of trash a week. I think we do better than most families, but clearly we have room for improvement.
A good rule to follow is the 5 R’s: Refuse, Reuse, Reduce, Recycle and Rot. Let’s face it, we live in a wasteful society. Flyers, junk mail, extra packaging, things just seem to enter our homes and become trash. This is why I love the first “R” Refuse. Make that choice to not make a purchase, or if you do, make sure it is for a product with little or no packaging, then choose products with recyclable packaging.
For the challenge, here are some tips for success:
1. Just say no. Buy what you need, need what you buy.
2. Use a reusable bag.
3. Use reusable water bottles and coffee cups.
4. Buy foods in bulk with no packaging.
5. Recycle and Reuse as much as you can.
6. No junk food today. Almost all snack food wrappers are trash.
7. Eat an apple today and compost your organic food waste.
8. Eliminate paper throwaways, use cloth items.
9. No fast food today, think of the straws, wrappers, napkins etc.
10. Pack a lunch in a reusable container.
11. If you go to a restaurant, avoid the Styrofoam take home container; bring a reusable container from home.
What’s left from your day? That is what will be entered on your Trash Tracker. An analysis of this list will help for future waste reduction. Our website tip sheet will also have other permanent waste reduction ideas, such as how to get off those pesky mail and credit card lists. Check out this list for more ways to reuse items and keep trash out of the can.
Will one day make a difference? You bet. One day creates awareness and with awareness can come the lifestyle changes necessary to minimize waste. Zero waste is a journey. We encourage you to take small steps toward a less waste goal.